Barack Obama’s Blurred Lines in Syria

Written by Pauline Wolak on September 4, 2013

President Obama made what NBC News called a “surprise appearance” in the briefing room August 20, 2012.  When asked of possible military involvement in Syria, he said the following:   “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.” 

Fast forward to President Obama today, just one year later, “I didn’t set a red line.  The world set a red line.”   Secretary Kerry started pushing the new red line theory on the Hill yesterday, calling it ‘‘a red line that anyone with a conscience ought to draw.’’

There is little doubt that Syria used chemical weapons.  There is little doubt that innocent civilians have died as a result.  The infamous red line was, indeed, crossed.

In August. Many days ago.

I don’t profess to be an expert on the Middle East.  I’m just a housewife from the Midwest.  Let me see if I have this straight.  More than 100,000 people have been murdered in Syria since the uprising began in 2011.  We knew this and did nothing.  A year ago we drew a red line regarding chemical weapons.  Bashar al-Assad allegedly used them on his own people resulting in the deaths of 1,400 people.  We knew this and did nothing.  Again.  

Weeks later we’re continuing to tough-talk Assad via the media.  We’re having Congressional hearings.  We’re having debates. We haven’t dropped a single gas mask over Syria, something that could help innocent civilians.  But we’re seriously considering the possibility of drone strikes.  Was the red line drawn in pencil?  Invisible ink?

These lines are more blurry than Robin Thicke’s.  His performance at the VMA’s was, I daresay, more entertaining than the backpedaling coming out of the White House in the last 48 hours.   The world might be taking Miley Cyrus’ twerking more seriously than John Kerry at this point. (Ever consider a panda bear leotard, Mr. Secretary)?

Assad has called President Obama “weak.”  The British Parliament refuses to support military action.  Ditto for Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Finland.  The U.N. refuses to support military action.  The American people are, rightfully, war weary. And, even John McCain, who stated inaction would be “catastrophic”, has now said he does not support the resolution to authorize military force “in its current form.” 

It’s getting more blurry by the second.

Given the lack of support, can we even afford another war?  According to Adm. James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we can’t.  At hearings on the sequester and continued budget cuts to the military, Adm. Winnefeld stated in written testimony, “If these caps continue in future years, the department will have to make sharp cuts with far-reaching consequences that will limit combat power, reduce readiness and irrevocably alter the way the military supports the national security interests of the United States.”

Explain to us, Mr. President, how you expect us to pay for an attack on Syria when we can’t balance our own budget.  Or even PASS a budget. And when you’re not too busy erasing the lines YOU drew into the sand, could you explain to the American people how your current stance is any different from the “Bush-style cowboy diplomacy” you publically eschewed in 2008 to get elected.


Pauline is a proud wife and mother of three. When she isn't being the world's greatest Girl Friday, she is volunteers her time as a school librarian and athletic director. Pauline enjoys football, politics, good beer, and arguing with anyone. She's a devout pro-life Catholic. Pauline believes in the 1st Amendment and uses it on a daily basis, most notably to ambush unsuspecting family members in political debate! You can find her work here at Clash and at Follow her on twitter at @MiStateFan.